Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Joy Unspeakable

Tuesday, April 1, 2014
For you shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.  Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall be to the LORD for a memorial, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.     Isaiah 55:12 - 13 (NRSV)
Macrina is a Benedictine Sister whose writings stir me.  Just yesterday she wrote about resilience.  In that post she used a line from a book, The Faithful Gardener, by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, a reflection “about Clarissa's uncle who, after being wounded and broken in spirit by war, returns to life through planting trees and gardening:

‘Something is waiting for you to make ground for it so that it can make its full presence known.’"[1]  
Every farmer is interested in the harvest.  It would be pretty silly to invest your time, energy and future on all that tilling, planting and the rest without the hope of reward poking-through the ground, the full-presence of our hope in God’s Providence.

Isaiah’s prophecy raises the banner of God’s supreme reward:  joy and peace!  Even the creation applauds and opens up its bounty for God’s people.

At times in history visionary political leaders have aspired to peace and prosperity, only to be thwarted and cut-down by evil.  The 1960’s were full of heartache over the assassinations of Kennedys and Kings.  What was to be “joy” turned to agony. 

And the promise of Camelot and equality and brotherhood seemed like a mirage of a carrot, dangling in front of the downtrodden.

Jesus’ hopes for the New World seemed to suffer the same crushing defeat as other altruistic and starry-eyed political organizers.  But Jesus was no political leader; He was God, come to die for us.  And He does not serve an elected term; the Kingdom is eternal.

The fisherman Apostle, Peter, expresses the inexpressible: joy anticipated in loving and being loved by a God Who knows everything about me (omniscient), is present in every moment of my existence (omnipresent), and can turn the universe on its ear with a thought (omnipotent) -- yet still loves a weak, sinful, but hopeful somebody like me.

Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.   1 Peter 1:8 - 9 (NRSV)

This is that which is waiting to make its full presence known in the ground you have prepared for it – joy, unspeakable and full of glory; God – not just God incarnate – but God incarnate – In You!

Today…for you

Do you suppose you can take a few moments to stir the ground….disturb the soil of your existence a little, to make room for God to take root; for God to plant His love down deep in you?

That’s where the joy starts!

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